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The state and society in the system of values of the Kuban Cossacks

 © 2007 I.Yu. Vasilyev


During the formation and historical development the system of values of the pre-revolutionary Kuban Cossacks incorporated values of society shelter, subethnic group and estate. Traditions of East Slavic community, the Polish shlyakhta, the Russian sluzhily people and Turkic Cossacks, i.e. people of the East European ethnocontact area were involved in its formation.

Value systems of components of the Cossack identity were in many respects similar. Being imposed at each other, they strengthened the main components of a system of values, such as fixation on internal unity for opposition to the outside world, aspiration to personal liberty and independence of community, the special relations with the power. Values of East Slavic community gave the chance to Cossacks to develop the principles of the social organization founded on collectivism, a primacy of the general over private and aspiration to independence. The value heritage of other social and ethnic groups was mainly focused on military craft (for example, the shlyakht), the special importance of the individual and collective rights, the idea of corporate superiority and chosenness, individualism (mainly the shlyakht) [1, 2]. At the same time all above-mentioned was characteristic also of East Slavic community [3]. The ideas of equality and unity of people of one status were close to at the same time early Cossacks and sluzhily people. In Zaporizhia Sechi theoretically all Cossacks, irrespective of origin and merits, had the equal rights [4]. Everyone could apply for the post of the koshevy ataman.

All value systems taught Cossacks to appreciate the social status. These main ideologems were inherent in the pre-revolutionary Cossacks throughout all its history. The internal discrepancy and a possibility of its overcoming promoted emergence of a uniform spontaneous system of values.

A specific place in this system was held by orthodox belief. In the XVI-XIX centuries she spiritually supported the Cossacks, proved his moral values. However influence of Orthodoxy was various and depended on the concrete carrier of the Cossack system of values and specific life circumstances. Norms of Christian ethics were not always equally applied in relation to "" and "others". Orthodox non-residents were sometimes forced to pay for a baptism in churches twice bigger, than Cossacks. Honourable positions of gonfaloniers did not trust in them or even tried not to let in the temple [5]. At the same time the Jewish community work days belonging to the Cossack estate enjoyed protection and support stanitsa

societies [6]. Thus, a part of members of the Cossack society (absolute minority) did not profess Orthodoxy at all. However and they were within society which value system in many respects relied on Orthodoxy.

The orthodox religiousness in the Cossack environment in many respects was based on external social factors. The power of public opinion in community, the respect for ethnic tradition and a way of life, the existing political system, the greatest impact on life of Cossacks were made in the second half of the 40th - the 60th of the 19th century, in the period of the maximum fortress of social foundations. Therefore the changes in a way of life gaining strength from 70th of the 19th century struck also the Cossack Orthodoxy [7]. Transition to peaceful life after the end of the Caucasian war, inflow of non-residents and the development of the market relations which was followed by strengthening of ties with the city centers were the most considerable of them. Since a boundary of the XIX-XX centuries the process of deformation of a way of life accelerates.

Individualization of behavior and outlook, connected with development of market economy, promoted washing out of spiritual unity of the Cossacks. In these conditions the Cossacks for whom the orthodox belief was personal belief made consolidation attempts (parish councils).

The monarchism was other important component of the Cossack outlook. During the early period of existence of the Cossacks it was connection of an ideologem of sacrality of the monarch with tradition of the free feudal service providing the contractual relations of Cossacks with their sovereign at obligatory recognition by the last of the Cossack rights and freedoms [8].

Since the end of the 18th century the dominant position was occupied by monarchic etatism which meant voluntary recognition of absolute power of the monarch and the government representing his interests [9]. At the same time the sacralization of the person of the sovereign continued to take place. The tsar was considered as the carrier of the highest truth having special relations good luck. It served as deep psychological justification of the dominating model of the relations of the Cossacks and the state. Awareness of freedom and elitism was inherent in the Cossacks initially and remained among Kuban residents to the first half of the 20th century, consisted in reverent attitude of the Kuban resident to personal liberty, own importance and proximity to a throne.

Ideas of religion and the relations with the state formed fundamentals of ideology of the Kuban Cossacks. Orthodoxy was its value basis. It set spiritual ancestors of private and public life of Kuban residents. Orthodoxy incorporated army in ethnocultural systems

higher level (Russian state and ethnic group, world family of the orthodox people). The monarchism connected religious values of the Cossacks with practice of its relationship with the state. If the monarch was considered as a figure of the semi-divine status [10], then the state - not always as the reliable partner in relationship with whom it is necessary to observe the benefit, first of all. It could keep long time the Kuban Cossacks under strict control only thanks to ideological support of Orthodoxy and monarchism. At a boundary of the XIX-XX centuries the traditional attitude towards the monarch began to change. For some Cossacks it began to be identified with state machinery, its misses and an arbitrariness. Began to confer personal responsibility for failures of army on the sovereign time Russian-Japanese and World War I of wars [11, 120, l. 2], the difficult situation in economy growing to a malozemelya [11, 585, l. 20 about; 12].

Negative attitude to activity of government is most characteristic of the periods of formation and crisis of a system of values. At a boundary of the XVIII-XIX centuries the ordinary Black Sea Cossacks still tried to assert the right of control over internal affairs of army (Persian revolt) [13, 14]. Since the beginning of the 60th of the 19th century the Cossacks had to fight for preservation of the most Cossack way of life in the conditions of modernization and nation-wide unification of a social system (a protest of sailors of the Black Sea Fleet and hopyorets against eviction in Zakubanye in 1861 [15], the requirement of autonomy in 1917 [16, 263, l. 31 about - 32 about]). During the Caucasian war the Cossacks in the conditions of continuous fighting considered close unity with the state vital for needs of defense and smoothing of internal contradictions.

The subsystem of moral values of the Kuban Cossacks had to promote smoothing of the conflicts and contradictions, to maintain strong internal unity. Consent and unity were the major moral values. The Cossack community always actively opposed itself to the outside world. The need for maintaining unity dictated need to connect severity of ethical principles and tolerance to their violators, the aspiration not to punish, and to correct them. Such approach was caused by that relative importance which the Cossack community recognized for the individual. The Cossack ethics was formed on a combination of collectivism and individualism.

The ratio of collectivism and individualism is well visible on the example of such major values as the earth, work, will. The aspiration to unity had to act as the guarantor of their protection. The community (the social institute which strengthened owing to need to develop agriculture in the conditions of war) acted as its concrete embodiment. It was a core of the organization of the Cossack society and, according to Kuban residents, has to be independent, it is obligatory to own the earth, to have the power

over the members. The Cossack delegated to community a considerable part of personal liberty.

The earth could not be owned by the individual as any Cossack was a part of community. Division of the earth would mean the crash of the last as whole. The power in representation of Cossacks was closely connected with the property right. These principles quite often faced resistance of the certain Cossacks fighting for the interests. The conflict of stanitsa communities and owners of farms in 30 - the 40th of the 19th century, come to the end with a temporary compromise, expressed in restriction of the amount of personal possession and their reduction in compliance to office merits of owners [17] was a consequence of it. With the advent of "An order of the general advantage" in 1793 appropriated the special rights for use of the army earth Cossack the foreman [18]. After the end of the Caucasian war the state resolutely supported land claims of the Cossack elite and army officers. In the 70th of the 19th century in Kuban the private land tenure began to be entered [19]. Naturally, these actions of the government caused resistance of Cossacks. For example, society of the village Poltava at which lands for investment of officers in 1871 - 1873 [16, 536, l were selected fought. 3-31 about]. The aspiration to privatization of the Cossack land property answered an individualistic component of the Cossack system of values, ideas of will, self-realization. However private-ownership moods in the Cossack environment increased slowly. Collectivist representations prevailed.

At the end of XIX - the beginning of the 20th century the state actively participated in formation among Cossacks of Kuban of viable community. In Chernomoriya this process took place not easy because of social heterogeneity of army and radical ideas of a will role in the intra Cossack relations both tops, and bottoms. During the Caucasian war with assistance of the state the community found force and had active impact on everyday life of the members. The period of the greatest moral influence of community proceeded since the end of the 40th prior to the beginning of the 70th of the 19th century. Later, under the influence of social and economic modernization, the unity of community and its moral authority among Cossacks gradually weaken. Strengthening of pressure of the state became an indicator of this process. The weakened community can resist to it less and less, the relations of her members need external regulation to a large extent. But by the boundary of the XIX-XX centuries the community masters such functions as control over land use and development of education more and more.

The unity of community was based also on the moral principles. They had to help Cossacks to keep unity along with communal possession of the earth. The last had to be the fullest, but voluntary. Therefore the community had to support aspirations of the members, promote their interests. Each Cossack a dale -

wives to be it was most satisfied in the claims. It had to have an earth in the quantity sufficient for comfortable existence. The Cossack appreciated an opportunity to participate in work of the Cossack self-government and to try to obtain in it honourable positions, to strengthen the authority. Stanichnik wanted to use force of community for fight against offenders and strangers.

But for this purpose it was necessary to coordinate and limit aspirations mutually. It was reached by means of education and public opinion which formed a uniform scale of moral standards and preferences. Violence in relation to violators of accepted standards became especially frequent phenomenon of the late period of existence of the Kuban Cossacks. Strengthening of repressive measures at a boundary of the XIX-XX centuries demonstrated the begun decomposition of a system of values.

The Cossack had to provide with the work performance of the duties caused by the status (military service, communal and army duties, providing with all necessary the family). These value systems prevailed to the middle of the 19th century in connection with registration of new tenor of life of sluzhily Cossacks of Kuban. Thus, work became a peculiar debt to society. The parasitism and excessive hobby for economy to the detriment of other necessary activity was not encouraged (especially - military service).

Both the community, and the freedom-loving Cossack strove for self-sufficiency. Their interests could be aligned only to a certain limit. Long time it was promoted by military threat. In the second half of XIX - the beginning of the 20th century the factor of external danger became much less significant, development of economy opened more and more opportunities for strengthening of independence of the individual. Labor efforts of the Cossack are less and less caused by maintenance of the status. The relation to work more and more corresponds to personal tendencies of the certain Cossack. It was one of the reasons of strengthening of social stratification. At the same time agriculture in Kuban was reoriented on achievement of commercial success. The last much more depended on labor and organizing abilities of the Cossack owner, than simple ensuring necessary requirements. Reduction of share plots complicated survival lazy, having insufficient abilities and unlucky.

Internal contradictions in life of the Kuban Cossacks were a part of uniform process of destruction of a traditional way of life of the Russian people.

The military valor including daring, bravery, force, unconditional fidelity the, fixation on protection of religious shrines and Christian not attachment to life and its benefits was one more major component of a system of values throughout centuries. After elimination of volnokazachy tenor of life by the end of the 18th century this value konstan-

that was plunged deformations. By the end of the Caucasian war it became stronger again. However after its termination the process of gradual loss of the importance of military science and the mental installations connected with it begins.

The Army and belonging to it, the status of the Cossack was the highest value for the Kuban Cossacks. The reverent attitude to Army most often was not expressed directly. It was shown in pride of the position of the Cossack. The love for army extended to stanitsa (kurenny) communities, military divisions. In this row it is possible to put also the Cossack family. It was primary cell of society of the Kuban Cossacks. At the same time provided them certain autonomy from big society, helped to assert the individual rights. The size and family composition defined economic opportunities of the Cossack, his ability to protect itself during the intra communal conflicts. Family relations often promoted career of the Cossack in public service and in the system of the Cossack self-government. The example of that is the well-known Black Sea sort Bursakov [20].

The role of the assistant and patron was played by structural units of Army which had to protect the Cossack from the outside world, provide its freedom.

Therefore the main Cossack virtue was the devotion to those collectives in which it was included, according to the Cossack status. Following to it, generally defined an ethical component of a system of values of the Kuban Cossacks. They could show the known liberty in relation to the existing rules (such as ban to steal, drink), but at the same time had no right to change the interests of collective. Cossacks should not have been at enmity with those who were considered.

However such Cossack value as will (possession of inalienable rights and privileges, an opportunity at own will to change the relations with the state and community) could be not always implemented in the Cossack environment of the XIX-XX centuries. The Cossacks were a controlled element of imperial state mechanism. Therefore search of freedom and self-realization time withdrew Cossacks out of limits Troops and its traditions, sometimes and in revolutionary movement.

Besides, significant value. Thus, recognition of above-mentioned values was absolutely necessary for maintenance of the supreme value - Troops, falling of their importance at a boundary of the XIX-XX centuries became sign of the begun general decomposition of a system.

Presence at Army of the earth was an indispensable condition of realization of the major Cossack values. Communal agriculture and volnozakhvatny or peredelno-share land use was one of bases of the Cossack unity. Possession private ze-

mile property to some groups of Cossacks helped to realize value system on liberty and independence.

For the Kuban Cossacks the person of the Russian monarch and the state headed by him was of particular importance. Ideological installation on service to the sovereign helped to explain and justify the developed way of life, to find to it necessary external justification and support. The Russian government was necessary for the Cossacks as the strong ally in the external conflicts and the arbitration judge - in internal.

All other values (for example, diligence, female honor) can be considered as a specification of the above-stated core values.

By the time of emergence on the historical stage of the Kuban Cossacks at the end of the 18th century the Cossack system of values managed to pass more than two-centuries evolutionary way. Strikingly conditions of its existing changed. The independent military men's union turned into community of the voyennozemledelchesky communities controlled by the state. Since the end

XVIII prior to the beginning of the 40th g of the 19th century were worked mechanisms of realization of steady value constants in new conditions. The relative social instability is characteristic of this period. The greatest embodiment of the Cossack system of values is the share of the end 40 - the end of the 60th of the 19th century. Then military and communal structures of Cossacks of Kuban reached high degree of efficiency. In many respects thanks to them the Caucasian war was victoriously ended, development Zakubanya began. Since the beginning of the 70th of the 19th century in Kuban the fast modernization begins. Were an incitement to it permission in 1868 to non-residents to settle on army lands [21] and emergence at the beginning of the 70th in Kuban of privately owned lands. In new conditions of a constant of a system of values underwent active external influence and began to be deformed. Especially this process accelerated at a boundary

XIX -The 20th centuries

But the system of values changed more slowly, than social life in which it was implemented. Its archaic elements remained. Conservatism allowed to preserve the systems of values continuity of generations and the uniform principles of a way of life. Existence of fragments of the different periods of origin in it provided a variety and flexibility. But at a boundary of the XIX-XX centuries the rate of social and economic evolution became too fast. Basic elements of a system - the belief, will and prestige of military science - began to lose the importance. Interstine opposition of Cossacks during Civil war showed that the main component of a system of values - the Cossacks and fidelity to it - also began to pale into insignificance. Promotion into the forefront of material prosperity, led to leveling of specifics of a system of values of the Kuban Cossacks.


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Kuban State University

On May 14, 2007

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